Chapter 23: Zoo Escape, New Friends, and Reconciliation
- - - - -
The wolves managed to reach the front gate to the zoo, thanks to Shadow's help on being familiar with the area.
"Over here!" Shadow says, digging a hole. "You should all be able to fit through here!"
Shadow digs his way out of the zoo as the pups follow, Lupa being first, then Wildfire, Ralph, Jet, Hunter, Aatu, and finally Star. But as the white pup tries to get out, a zookeeper grabs her tail.
"I got one!" the zookeeper says,
"Help!" Star yells out,
"I got it!" Hunter says, biting the zookeeper's hand,
"OUCH!" the zookeeper yells out, loosening his grip on Star and allowing her to escape.
"We're outta here!" Wildfire yells as she and the others run off,
"But which way is home?" Hunter asks,
"You're from Canada, right?" Shadow asks, "That'd be up north, we're heading the right way."
"But we'll never make it home on foot!" Jet says, "Is there a faster and less exhausting way?"
"Over there!" Aatu says, pointing out a trailer attached to a pick-up truck ready to pull out.
"Quick, get in!" Shadow says, jumping in through the trailer's open door with the pups.
Just then, the truck pulls away as 2 zookeepers come up in their own truck.
"They headed this way!" one zookeeper says,
"They couldn't have gone too far." the other one says, then he drives the truck away
"You think the pups will be OK?" Lilly asks, lying on her back and resting her head against Garth's chest.
"I'm sure, Lilly." Garth says, placing a comforting paw on Lilly,
"I hope we find them soon." Wildflower says, "No telling what kind of horrors Lupa's facing."
"At least Wildfire, Aatu, and Hunter can handle themselves." Kate says, "It's the omegas I'm worried about."
"Yeah, while Jet's fast, he's not a fighter." Humphrey says, "Ralph has his troubles too."
"We all know what Lupa's like." Hutch says,
"I'm not even going to say anything about Star." Kate says, "Lilly's close enough to break down already."
"I'm so bored." Humphrey says, collapsing on the floor.
"What should we do then?" Wildflower asks,
"I don't know." Kate says, "Maybe find a way to cheer up Lilly for starters."
"I'm not sure anything will work." Garth says, looking at a depressed and seemingly tired Lilly. "I'm afraid the only thing to cure it is to find the pups."
"True." Humphrey says, "But it'll take a while to do that."
"Where are we anyway?" Wildflower asks,
"Boise, Idaho." Hutch says, looking at a sign out the window.
"Great, we're closer to San Diego." Humphrey says,
"That's good." Kate says, "We're closer to finding the pups."
"At this rate, finding the pups shouldn't take long." Humphrey says, being optimistic,
"I wish I had your confidence." Lilly says sadly,
"Don't worry." Garth says gently to Lilly, "Humphrey's been working as hard as he could to find the pups, he won't stop here."
"I'm glad to hear that." Lilly says, cheering up a bit and nuzzling Garth,
"I hope we find them soon." Wildflower whispers to Hutch, fearful for her pups
Just then, a growling sound was heard.
"Wasn't me!" Humphrey says,
"Wasn't me either." Comet says, who had been quiet the whole time.
The growling sound is heard again and Lilly looks down at the center of her white underbelly, finding the origin of the growling.
"Sorry." Lilly says, slightly blushing, "It's my stomach."
"Well, we're coming up on a rest stop now." Humphrey says, maybe we can find something to eat there.
That evening, the semi truck pulls into a parking lot near a restaurant and the 8 wolves jump out.
"I got a scent." Comet says, "Maybe elk."
"That's not as good as caribou." Garth says, "But it'll satisfy us."
The wolves run into the nearby wooded area in search of the elk, a while later, the wolves were chowing down on their catches.
"You're right, Garth." Humphrey says, "Elk isn't as satisfying as caribou, but it's still great."
"At least I won't get hungry anytime soon." Lilly says, rubbing her stomach.
Just, a large piece of meat starts moving away until it comes out of the wolves sight.
"What the...?" Kate asks, wondering what's going on.
"I'll check." Lilly says, following after the meat.
"Not without me you're not." Garth says, following Lilly.
The 2 wolves follow after the meat and find out where it was going: A den with a family of red foxes.
"You're lucky those wolves didn't come after you." A female fox says,
"At least I got us something to eat." A male replies to the female,
"Better eat up James." the female says, then a kit, probably a teenager, comes out of the den and start eating the elk.
After a while, all that was left of the elk piece was the skeleton.
"That was good." the fox kit says,
Just then, the foxes hear rustling from a bush nearby and look to see 2 canines, one white and the other red, both twice as big as them walking up.
"What do you want?" The male fox says, taking a defensive stance in front of the den.
"Easy." Garth says, "We didn't come here to fight."
"We were just wondering if you saw any wolves pups come by." Lilly says,
"Now that you mention it, I did see some in at least seven boxes that were in a truck at the rest stop." the male fox says, "They seemed to be asleep."
"Any specific traits?" Garth asks,
"I know one of them looked like your friend there." the female fox says, referring to Lilly, "And the other looked kind of like you, sir. Except more rusty in color."
"Then they must've been our pups." Lilly says,
"We were trying to get them and the others back home to Jasper." Garth says,
"Wow, you sure came a ways from up north to get some kids." the male fox says,
"Is there any way we can help?" the female fox asks,
"Only if you're thinking of going on a trip with us." Garth says,
"That won't be a problem." the male fox says, "Some badgers have been trying to get us out of this den for a long time."
"Last time, they said they'd take our pup if we didn't leave." the female fox says,
"Then you might as well come with us for your safety." Lilly says,
"That's a good idea." the male fox says, "We've been thinking of taking a vacation from here."
"Then what are you waiting for?" Garth says, "Come on."
The 2 wolves leave the den with the 3 foxes following.
"Either way, the name's Garth." Garth says to the foxes,
"And I'm Lilly." Lilly says,
"Pleased to meet you, I'm Farley." the male fox says, "This is my mate, Crystal."
"And this is our son, James." Crystal says, "He's is quite skilled with machines and technology. He once turned a semi-truck into a street racer a while back!"
"You got that right, Mom." James says,
"Cool, what can you two do?" Lilly says,
"I'm great at finding weak points on an enemy." Crystal says,
"And I can make out the environment without looking and find a way through dangerous areas." Farley says,
"Great." Garth says, "You guys could be quite helpful for us."
Later, Lilly and Garth had reached the group and told them about how the foxes could be helpful.
"They sure sound helpful." Humphrey says,
"After all, we could find them a place to live in Jasper since their home is being taken over." Wildflower adds,
"We better get back to the truck now." Kate says, "It might pull out soon."
As the wolves and foxes made their way back to the rest stop, the truck was starting to pull out.
"Hurry!" Hutch says, running toward the truck.
Hutch manages to get into the house on the truck's trailer, followed by Kate, Humphrey, Lilly, Comet, Wildflower, Claw, and finally Garth, as he helped the foxes get on board.
"Let's hope we find the pups soon." Wildflower says, "I don't want to have to waste time getting something to eat and picking up more passengers."
"I agree." Kate says,
Meanwhile, at night, Shadow and the pups were running from their ride as the humans found them while they were waiting at a truck stop and they duck behind some bushes.
"That went well." Hunter says,
"If only Ralph had kept his mouth shut." Aatu says,
"Hey! Don't blame me on blowing our cover!" Ralph snaps back at Aatu, "My tail was stepped on!"
"Will you knock it off?!" Wildfire says as the group exits the bushes, "Arguing won't get us home!"
"He started it!" Aatu and Ralph say in unison while pointing at each other,
"We don't care who started it!" Hunter says, ripping a public telephone off its post and throws it out of anger, "We're ending it!"
"We better go foot for now." Shadow says, "We can't attract more attention to ourselves."
"We might as well." Jet says, then he follows after Shadow with the others and a storm rolls in.
"Great, it's raining." Aatu says,
"And I just got my mane the way Mom likes it." Hunter says,
"I'm wishing it'll just go away." Star says,
Then, out of nowhere, Wildfire starts doing a rain dance while singing.
"What're you doing?" Shadow asks, a bit amused by Wildfire's antic.
"It's a rain dance to make it stop raining." Wildfire says,
"Rain dances make it rain." Aatu says in an annoyed tone, causing Wildfire to stop dancing.
"Right." Wildfire says, "Maybe I should do it backwards!"
Wildfire does the same dance again, but singing in reverse. After a moment, Wildfire stops dancing but remains standing on her hind legs and raises a forepaw to check if it's raining.
"Huh, it worked." Wildfire says, lowering her paw, but still standing on 2 legs.
"Uh..." Star says, pointing up.
Wildfire, confused, looks to see some leaves parting, dropping some water on her face and causing her to fall on her back.
"That'll keep me awake for a while." Wildfire says, getting back on all fours and following after the group.
"Oh brother." Aatu says to himself,
"What?" Hunter asks,
"That dance." Aatu says, "It's too Omega-like."
"You got a problem with Omegas?" Jet asks, offended by the comment.
"Did I say that?" Aatu asks, his temper rising.
"Sounds a lot like it!" Jet says, now angered.
"Now you listen here you little-!"
"Don't even say it!" Ralph says, interrupting Aatu.
"Stay out of this Ralph, this doesn't concern you!" Aatu yells,
"If you have a problem with Omegas, you got a problem with me!" Ralph yells,
"Is that a challenge?" Aatu asks aggressively
"You're on!" Ralph says, readying himself to punch Aatu.
"Both of you stop it!" Lupa suddenly snaps at her brothers, "We aren't going to get back to Mom and Dad this way and if you want to, I suggest you stop blaming each other for what happened and start cooperating before I rip your tails off!"
And with that, Lupa storms off into the woods away from the group's path, leaving everyone shocked by her behavior, including Shadow.
"I didn't know Lupa could act like that." Shadow finally says,
"We didn't know either." Star says as Wildfire faints,
"Shouldn't someone go get her?" Jet asks,
"I will." Star says, recovered from the shock, "She's closest to me out of all of us."
"I'm coming with you." Ralph says, using his tail as a whip on Aatu's muzzle.
Star then heads into the woods to find Lupa.
After a while, everyone is wondering why Star, Ralph, and Lupa are taking so long to get back.
"They've been gone for a while." Jet says,
"Who should go after them?" Hunter asks,
Everyone looks at Aatu.
"My me?" Aatu asks,
"You made the mistake by starting the arguement." Wildfire says,
"And you might as well fix it." Hunter says,
"Why should I?" Aatu asks,
"That's an order." Wildfire says sternly,
"Fine." Aatu says, heading into the forest due to his weakness to follow orders.
After a while, Aatu hears yelling.
"Someone, help!" a voice says,
"Star!" Aatu says in shock, running toward the source to find Ralph trying to hold onto a rock while holding Star and Lupa to prevent them from falling off a cliff.
"Aatu, help us!" Star cries out,
Aatu, due to his dislike for Omegas has trouble choosing whether to help them or not.
"Why should I help them?" Aatu asks himself, "They're so annoying with all those foolish things they do. But they keep the peace in the pack, but they're so weak and can't even take out a caribou calf."
just then, Ralph begins to lose his grip.
"Aatu, help us!" Ralph says,
Just then, as Ralph completely loses his grip, Aatu makes his last-second decision and quickly grabs his brother's forepaw and saves him and the girls.
"Hold on." Aatu says, as he pulls up the 3 pups, then he collapses on his back from exhaustion afterward.
"Thank you so much!" Lupa cries out, hugging Aatu tightly.
Aatu at first, is a bit nervous about being hugged by his sister, but he eventually forgets the feeling and hugs his sister back happily. Aatu and the omegas soon return to the group.
"Took you long enough." Wildfire says, "What took you?"
"We nearly fell off a cliff." Ralph says,
Just then, Star hugs Hunter tightly out of fear, catching the rust-red pup by surprise.
"I can tell." Hunter says as he comforts his sister,
"We better get going." Shadow says, "There's another truck stop up ahead, we can get another ride there."
Eventually, the group reaches the truck stop and look at all the vehicles they could choose from.
"OK, we just have to choose which one to take." Wildfire says,
Just then, a small RV pulling a small trailer with 2 motorcycles in it starts to pull out of the truck stop and heads north.
"There's our ride!" Shadow says, picking up the unconscious Wildfire, "Let's go!"
Shadow and the pups jump into the trailer with motorcycles, then shadow opens the door to the trailer to allow the pups to get in while he stays outside.